The winters in Colorado are of picturesque wilderness, gorgeous snow capped mountains, frozen rivers, and unbelievable deep blue skies. The air is crisp and pristine layers of thin ice crystals cling to the last remaining exposed grass blades off the rivers edge. Intricate ice patterns float weightlessly downstream from the white sky above. Each flake swirls and dances to its final landing spot below. Colorado’s rivers still flow throughout the winter season and the fly fishing continues to thrive while the gold medal waters hold hidden gems for the allured avid angler.
While the rivers and lakes do freeze over in Colorado, there exists some of the finest winter fly fishing Colorado has to offer on notable tailwaters below dams and reservoirs. Tailwaters provide a steady temperature that produces an ideal trout environment that can support a hearty trout population. The Fryingpan, Taylor, Roaring Fork,ample South Platte, and the Blue River are some of Colorado’s magnificent tailwater fisheries to mention.
When the enthusiastic angler is ready for some winter fly fishing, there are some careful considerations to take in the way of preparation and planning before heading to the waters. Research the water flows, gate closures, and weather conditions. If your walk is of great distance to the river, consider snowshoes to avoid post holing. Layer up accordingly with warm clothing, and never consider wearing cotton. Bring hand warmers in your gloves, toe warmers for the wader boots. Carry a hot thermos with your favorite desired coffee, tea, hot chocolates, or soups. Pack decadent snacks and a scrumptious lunch for the day. Sunscreen is a must no matter what time of the year.
Consider fishing mild days and during the warmest time of the day. Look for sunny areas, fish in deep pockets where there are ample food sources and where fish are in multitude. The first fly presentations can be critical, carefully plan your drifts tenderly so that you do not spook the fish. Nymphing will be your number one producer during the winter season with your flies being presented near the stream bottom. If there is a hatch happening, drifting a bit higher in the water columns can be more productive. Nymph the slower deeper water near the tail out of a run. Trout can be dwelling in these areas.
Cloudy days can produce some improved hatches of baetis mayflies. Allow the hatches to intensify and look for the rise of fish at the water’s surface. Work the water progressively and meticulously. If you don't get a grab, change your fly and work the same water again. Depending on the clarity of the water, you may be able to sight fish for individual fish.
While the ski resorts are brimful with crowds, winter fly fishing in Colorado can be an extremely enjoyable experience providing much needed solitude along with some of the most stunning scenery and beautiful catches. Dress warmly, be prepared for the winter conditions. There so many great activities to take pleasure in during the Colorado winter season. May your fly fishing excursions bring joy to you into the winter months.
About Cat Toy:
Cat grew up in Mammoth Lakes, California, next to the wild trout creeks and streams in a quaint ski resort town nestled in the magnificent Southern Sierra Nevada mountain range. She learned to ski at an early age of 3 from her grandparents. Her grandfather would take her and her younger brother fishing to the high alpine lakes and mountain streams. They hiked the spectacular glacier carved mountains blanketed with vibrant wildflowers, tall majestic Jeffery and Bristlecone pines, and deep earthquake faults.
Her family moved to Reno, Nevada for new prospects to explore and college education opportunities. As a young adult, she enjoyed several seasons as a ski instructor at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe. Shortly thereafter, she took an interest and became a certified Emergency Medical Technician.
The gates dropped and the rumble of 20+ guys racing motocross dirt bikes exploded from the starting line, including Cat. Not just a recreational racer, Cat pursuit the points in the annual MX West State Championship motocross racing series in Northern Nevada. Cat knows racing motocross as the most adrenaline pumping perfect storm of both physical and mental concentration that is an absolute requirement for the most severe sport on earth. Her swift progression in the male dominant sport kept her competitive for 10 years with multiple trophies and numerous corporate racing sponsors.
As an emergency medical technician, the aspiration to go further in the healthcare field led her into the journey of further studies where she graduated with a minor in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2007. Racing motocross, she said, kept her sane in surviving nursing school.
Cat’s nursing career started in Colorado with experience in psychiatric nursing, post surgical rehabilitation, and as a nursing educator. In addition to channeling her medical expertise, she is also a ski patroller at the pinnacle summit of the Rocky Mountains gracing the slopes of Loveland Ski Area. Like racing motocross, ski patrolling is physically demanding, requires an aptitude of awareness, discipline, and superior public relation skills.
The opportunity to experience fly fishing occurred in recent when she was merely handed a rod and reel to discern on her own. Cat used her past experiences of life skills to perfect the techniques that are necessary to be a successful fly angler, and her progression rate soared. Experienced fishing buddies, professional guides, and friends were stunned at Cat's expeditious passion to own the skills. As a disciplined fly angler, she changed her approach by analyzing the intricate facets of fly fishing from spontaneous hatches to the most technical presentations required among the ever changing drifts of a trout stream.
Fly fishing can take Cat to some of the most ruggedly beautiful, breathtaking canyons found in Colorado. The near future will unfold as there will be more to come with fly fishing for Cat. There is so much to share, enjoy, and to treasure.